Rose Cuttings – January, 2008

The ‘Joe Woodard’ rose had to be yellow, fragrant and tough, traits that Joe Woodard loved in roses. Photos by Belinda Pavageau.

‘Joe Woodard’ Rose

The ‘Joe Woodard’ rose pays tribute to a gardener, a rosarian and, most importantly, a great man – Joe Woodard (1918 – 2001).

Joe never met a person he didn’t like and there was never a person who didn’t like Joe. With his quiet and patient demeanor, he would win you over as a trusted and trusting friend. It is fitting that the society that he formed, the Dallas Area Historical Rose Society, raised money to name a rose in his honor.

In 1984, Joe started "The Yellow Rose,” a newsletter embracing the ideals of rose preservation, comraderie, and gardening. His experience as interim director of the Dallas Arboretum, along with membership in the Men’s Garden Club, American Rose Society and Garden Writers of America, insured the growth of the Dallas Historical Rose Society to more than 100 members at the time of his death. It was his favorite group.

A rose honoring him had to be yellow, had to be fragrant, and had to be tough. The ‘Joe Woodard’ rose, which embodies these traits that he loved in roses, will honor him well. This rose will grow to a height of 3-4 feet, blooms repeatedly through spring and fall, and even occasionally in the summer. It has a wonderful, full, transient fragrance and, like Joe himself, this rose is “kinder and gentler” than most because of its few thorns.

So I give a Texas toast to a Texas gentleman. Meet the yellow rose named for one of Texas’ own – the ‘Joe Woodard’ rose.

About the author: Mike Shoup is the owner of the Antique Rose Emporium. Visit their Brenham and San Antonio display gardens for endless ideas on landscaping with roses. To order roses online, visit

Editor’s note: The photograph of Joe Woodard was taken at the 1994 Heritage Rose Foundation Conference in Richmond, Va., by Belinda Pavageau. Betty Ellen Vickers, editor of The Yellow Rose, the newsletter of the Dallas Area Historical Rose Society, writes, “The rose he is examining is Rosa Moschata, a rose thought not to exist in the U.S. until the bush Joe is looking at was found…. Joe found many lost roses and returned them to commerce…. Without people like Joe, we would not have all these roses today.”

Publisher’s note:  Joe Woodard was my longtime friend and rose-go-to expert.  Joe chaired my advisory committee with the Dallas County Extension office all of the years I worked there in the early 1970s.  He was active in the Men’s Garden Club of America and involved me in their national convention in Dallas in the mid-70s.  He had a twinkle in his eye and a kind spirit in his soul.  He and Helen made a profound impact on both my career and my life.  Neil Sperry

Posted by Neil Sperry
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